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Green Bullace gin recipe


a basket of green bullaces from the hedgerows

I worked for a few hours today. Saturday. Sometimes it’s worth doing some time at the weekend when the builders are not there. It’s peaceful and I can crack on. Two hours usually seems to drift into four hours and suddenly I see the sun getting lower in the sky.

I shot home at 4.30 pm, desperate to catch a couple of hours in the garden before dark. As I passed Broad Green I noticed the footpath to the bullace hunting ground. I had checked the bullace situation a few weeks ago. Hedge trimmers had ripped along the hedgerows, chopping the possibility of a great harvest. However, green bullaces are tricky to spot. It was worth pulling in for a quick recce, just in case.

I examined the hedgerows carefully and found these. 500g of bullaces that would have gone over if they’d been left for a few more days. I picked them, finding more and more as my eyes became accustomed to the look of them on the branch. The backdrop was a sky so blue that it was hard to believe that it is already mid October.

I drove through the village and mulled over how I would use them. They could be added to the sharp wild plums in the freezer to make chutney. However these bullaces are so sweet that they cried out to be made into a liqueur.

N.B .The bullaces that we were given from Kent last year were the dark, sharp tasting variety. These need far more sugar than our green bullaces – a small wild greengage. So I cut down the sugar for this brew. We can always add more at a later stage. I didn’t want to oversweeten the grog.


A 1 L litre Le Parfait or Kilner jar.

Green Bullace gin recipe
Recipe Type: Liqueur
Author: fiona Nevile
  • 300g of green bullaces
  • 85g of granulated white sugar
  • 0.75 litres of medium quality supermarket own brand gin (I know that loads of people use the cheapest gin but think of the morning after!)
  1. Wash, destalk and sort your bullaces. Reject and fruit that is squishy.
  2. Put the bullaces in a sterilised wide necked jar. Sprinkle the sugar over the fruit and top up with the gin.
  3. Leave the jar on the side in the kitchen and shake until the sugar is dissolved (this will take a few days). Store in a cool place for at least three months before sampling.
  4. Strain the liquor through muslin after six months. Keep as long as you can bear to. We keep all our grog in the barn. Out of sight, out of mind. Until you go out searching for something that might be lurking in the barn.


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  1. jane manby

    Sorry forgot to add these pictured are Bullace the red, yellow and purple ones over the rest of the internet which people maintain are Bullace are in fact Cherry Plums

  2. jane manby

    I am amazed at the number of people who do not know the difference between Bullace and Cherry Plums.
    “Cherry Plum along with the Blackthorn is one of the parents of the wild plum from which our domestic plums originates.”

    The closely related Bullace is a wild plum and wants to be cherished if you can find it, far superior in flavor to either the Cherry Plum or true Wild Plum. It grows in much the same environment as both the Cherry Plum and Blackthorn and is similar in look and habit but produces less fruit.
    If you hop on over to my website you can learn how to identify them
    Hope this helps

  3. Hilary Powell

    Hi Emily,
    Have you tried raspberry vodka?
    It’s fabulous …..
    I use a 1.5L screw top Kilner jar (available from Wares of Knutsford) and put in 1/3 sugar I use caster, 1/3 raspberries and fill up with vodka.
    Give the jar a good shake every day for 1st week then once a week after leave for about 3-6 months or as long as you bear it!
    Use the strained raspberries for trifle OMG it’s good!
    I do the same recipe a 1/3 of fruit 1/3 sugar 1/3 alchohol for sloe gin, except I use sloes and gin and 2tsp of almond extract, and plum, damson gin and peach vodka and cherry brandy using brandy, strawberry vodka.
    You can use any fruit, the left over fruit can be used in trifles or put into a rumtofpt (jar with fruit and topped up with alcohol ) and served with ice cream or yoghurt.

  4. I cut and stone the plums to make them ready for cake baking. Living in the town I was delighted to receive a box of plums in my veg box – they are now soaking in gin as exciting addition to this years Christmas cake. The top tear of our wedding cake made a lovely christening cake this year.

  5. I am about to make greengage gin for the first time – I notice from your recipe that you don’t prick the fruit first like I always do with sloes ?? Will be quicker and easier if you don’t have to ! but just wondered.
    Brilliant website by the way

  6. Emily

    The plums from our plum gin did get used in our wedding cake to good effect. I used them instead of pineapple! They were drained of gin, the vine fruit was added to the jar and brandy was the added. The fruit was left and shaken of a week then I dug out a bucket and made the cake. The gin soaked plums added a depth of flavor. The gin was also well recieved too! A good May Day was had by all.

  7. I have just bottled my first bullace gin which went on the brew in October ’09. Having made sloe gin before, I cut down the sugar and have a delicious, dry liquer. Now, does anyone have any ideas as to what to do with the residual fruit? Seems a pity to waste it……..

  8. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Emily

    The only fruit cake that I make is here

    Even people who don’t like fruit cake love it. It lasts for about 6 weeks but is best eaten within 2.

    Good luck with the wedding!

  9. Hello,

    I’m are getting married next year and my fiance and I envisage our guests sipping some homemade brew before the dancing at our rather English bash (imagine afternoon tea on the lawn after ceremony in a pretty village church, with croquet, cumuber sandwiches and homemade jam). There was as suggestion that plums post plum gin making could then be used to made a fruit cake….. we have a need for a cake! I was wondering if you had a good recipe or one I could adapt.

    Hope to hear from you soon – off plum picking tomommow.


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